Awed by his power and his sternness, the parents yielded her to his will.
He could be stern, but sternness was less natural to him than concealment.
Just then, up came my father, with a sternness in his looks that made me tremble.
For the first time there was a tone of sternness in his voice.
His Lie still, you rascal, or Ill make you, voiced in its sternness an even deeper sentiment than he had for Zaidee.
His is one of authority and of sternness; this of gentleness and love.
There was a sternness in her grandmother's voice and face which startled the girl.
The sternness of age and the austerity of censoriousness are now silent.
This little relaxation of sternness had a good effect upon the queen.
As they rested upon her some of the sternness seemed to fade from their glance.
Old English styrne "severe, strict," from Proto-Germanic *sternijaz (cf. Middle High German sterre, German starr "stiff," störrig "obstinate;" Gothic andstaurran "to be stiff;" Old Norse stara; Old English starian "to look or gaze upon"), from PIE root *ster-, *star- "be rigid" (see sterile).
c.1300, "hind part of a ship, steering gear of a ship," probably from Old Norse stjorn "a steering," related to styra "to guide" (see steer (v.)). Or the word may come from Old Frisian stiarne "rudder," which is also related to steer (v.).